As CDs took over from vinyl and iTunes took over from CDs, streaming is now taking over from iTunes.
There are, however, a number of streaming services, and the number is growing. That's good news to music lovers but it can make choosing a service a bit harder. To help, here is a list of the best music streaming services.
While it doesn't technically have the most subscribers, Spotify is arguably known as the leader of the streaming pack. Reporting 40 million users and 10 million paying subscribers in May this year, Spotify has a music library of 20 million songs. The service is free to those who don't mind ads, but for those wanting to remove ads a premium subscription, Spotify Premium, is $9.99 per month. While it is certainly a great service, many suggest the user interface has some improvements to make in ease-of-use compared with other streaming services. Spotify also has a web app and apps for all major mobile operating systems.
Google Play Music All Access
Google Play Music takes the massive library of Spotify to the next level, offering a whopping 22 million songs. Not only that, but if a user can't find the song they want but can download it somewhere else, they can upload the music to their Google Play Music account to stream. All Access, which is Google's unlimited streaming service, costs $9.99 per month. Google Play Music has a web-based app as well as an app for Android and iOS.
Pandora is a little different from other streaming companies, offering more of a "radio" type service, serving listeners music based on what they like. The service's library is only 1 million songs, but the trade-off is the fact Pandora is only $4.99 per month compared with the $9.99 per month the other services charge. Pandora also has a web app and a mobile app for all major mobile operating systems.
Rdio is very similar to Spotify in catalog size and pricing, as well as the fact it is available on the web and across Android, iOS, BlackBerry and Windows Phone. Some, however, suggest Rdio is easier to use, with a cleaner user interface. The service, while growing, is believed to have under 500,000 subscribers.
Beats Music is arguably the streaming service to watch, having been recently bought by Apple for $3 billion. It is likely Apple will begin integrating Beats into iTunes, however only time will tell. The service, like several others, costs $9.99 per month, or users can pay $99.99 for an entire year. It has a library of 20 million songs and is available on web, as well as iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.